The above is a screen shot from the Discovery Institute’s Evolution News site. From the article:
Editor’s note: We are delighted to welcome the new and greatly expanded second edition of The Design Inference, by William Dembski and Winston Ewert. The following is excerpted from the Introduction.
What this is all about is a book, The Design Inference, by Dembski and Ewert. This was posted by Dembski and Ewert. They quote from their own book:
Tacitly in the first edition of The Design Inference and explicitly in its sequel, No Free Lunch, I argued that natural selection and random variation could not create the sort of complexity we see in living things. My approach in applying the design inference to biology was to piggyback on the work of design biologists such as Douglas Axe and Michael Behe. They had identified certain subcellular systems (e.g., bacterial flagella and beta-lactamase enzymes) that proved highly resistant to Darwinian explanations.
Our joint task was to put plausible numbers to these systems so that even factoring in Darwinian natural selection, the probability of these systems arising was exceedingly small. Note that the specification of these systems, as in their exhibiting the right sort of pattern for a design inference, was never in question. The issue was always whether the probabilities were small enough. In using specified improbability to draw a design inference for biology, I therefore needed to argue that the probabilities for Darwinian processes producing certain biological systems, such as those identified by Axe and Behe, were indeed small.
Dembski, William; Ewert, Winston. The Design Inference: Eliminating Chance through Small Probabilities (pp. 38-39). Discovery Institute Press. Kindle Edition.
This has been previously addressed. The creationists’ argument stated simply is if a thing is highly improbable then there must be some intelligence behind the thing. Earlier I gave the example of the Golden Gate Bridge. Yeah, that did not happen by accident. But what about other improbable things? They mention “design biologists such as Douglas Axe and Michael Behe.” All right. Let us concede neither of these two are actually biologists. Axe has a degree in chemical engineering, and Behe is a biochemist. So it will be interesting to look at one of Michael Behe’s key assertions. From Behe’s Wikipedia page:
In 1996, Behe published his ideas on irreducible complexity in his book Darwin’s Black Box. Behe’s refusal to identify the nature of any proposed intelligent designer frustrates scientists, who see it as a move to avoid any possibility of testing the positive claims of ID while allowing him and the intelligent design movement to distance themselves from some of the more overtly religiously motivated critics of evolution.
As to the identity of the intelligent designer, Behe responds that if, deep in the woods, one were to come across a group of flowers that clearly spelled out the name “LEHIGH”, one would have no doubt that the pattern was the result of intelligent design. Determining who the designer was, however, would not be nearly as easy.
In 1997, Russell Doolittle, on whose work Behe based much of the blood-clotting discussion in Darwin’s Black Box, wrote a rebuttal to the statements about irreducible complexity of certain systems. In particular, Doolittle mentioned the issue of the blood clotting in his article, “A Delicate Balance.” Later on, in 2003, Doolittle’s lab published a paper in the peer-reviewed journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences which demonstrates that the pufferfish lacks at least three out of 26 blood clotting factors, yet still has a workable blood clotting system. According to Doolittle, this defeats a key claim in Behe’s book, that blood clotting is irreducibly complex.
And it is not necessary to belabor the point. Dembski and Ewert have hitched their wagon to a faded star. Follow the link and read the Evolution News posting. Comments solicited.